This documentary-stylised movie revolves around four women from different cultures, from Turkey, India, Mexico and Australia. And they are about to tie the knot with the person they love.
The wedding preparations ensue for all four of them, and the sequence of events unfolds steadily to the big day - from the littlest of ceremonies to the procuring of the wedding cake. Needless to say, the audience become a witness to the wondrous union of individuals, beholding the assemblage of beautiful emotions that friends and family radiate throughout the movie.
A remarkable work of art of the contemporary age, it hits a note that any person would readily attest to.
Emu Runner Director and Writer: Imogen Thomas Stars: Rhae-Kye Waites, Wayne Bliar, Rob Carlton
Gem mother’s death propels a 8-year-old girl to seek comfort in her Mother Lands, where she forms a wonderful bond with a wild emu. The wild life connection not only rebuilds her broken spirit but also brings her into an unpredictable conflict with a young and inexperienced social worker who could break her family apart.
Gem is the main character and the driving force of Emu Runner. It is through her eyes that the story unfolds in front of the film spectators. She is a child full of joy, innocence, wonder and intrigue and anchored by the deep cultural roots of her native Ngemba people and country, and thus her sense of belonging is implicit. Her remote country town may struggle to exist, and yet, it is a place that offers great freedoms, home-like warmth and a way of life where time slows down and simple pleasures are found for the soul to rest and rehabilitate. At the same time Emu Runner movie presents the fragility of this world and how quickly it can change and how we are sometimes unable to adapt to such changes quickly.
Emu Runner invites audiences into Gem’s world as she faces the most difficult test of her life.
Emu Runner presents a child’s perspective of life in an Australian outback town and this is reflected in the cinematic language. The mood and the tone is visceral, honest and immediate, instantly engaging the audience in Gem’s world. It is the film, worth of watching to open our eyes and hearts!
Official Secrets Director: Gavin Hood. Starring: Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, Rhys Ifans, Indira Varma, Conleth Hill, Adam Bakri, Hattie Morahan, Monica Dolan, Tamsin Greig
For millions of people around the world, information about the invasion of the allied forces of the United States and Britain in Iraq was like a cold shower, because this incident automatically entailed consequences that few could have foreseen. Just having coped with the worries of the September 11 terrorist attacks, the civilized community was forced to accept the fact of another war, in which innocent victims could not do without. Nevertheless, George W. Bush, Tony Blair and their political allies, in spite of everything, started a complex party, which could not do without substituting truth and facts.
Attributing the creation of weapons of mass murder to the regime of Saddam Hussein, the allies in the most arrogant way deceived everyone and went to bomb Iraq. As you know, winners are not judged, because they are always right, but in the modern world things are not so simple, and the new film by director Gavin Hood shows us what the price of truth is and what a person can do to high principles when revelations fall into his hands, on which the reputation of power and people's faith in democratic institutions depend.
In the center of the plot is British intelligence officer Catherine Gan, who accidentally discovers extremely important data that the government was least willing to make public. Having familiarised themselves with them and realising that the invasion of Iraq was actually a grandiose scam, Catherine must decide for herself what to do next. On one side of the balance is calm, humble acceptance of the given, blind observance of the oath, and justice on the other, honor and own conscience. Katherine chooses, in her opinion, the most correct path and finds herself under a special eye that can destroy her life once and for all. But the choice has been made; retreating is pointless.
It was surprising to me that such a movie was shot, and even with such significant actors as Keira Knightley, Matt Smith and Ralph Fiennes. The American and British government, as well as large studios that are directly dependent on politics, are not always in a hurry to return to sensitive issues that were planned to be forgotten and not to return to them. But the situation with the war in Iraq still bears fruit, far from the best, and therefore the public resonance around the question does not subside, from which Gavin Hood decided to take a chance and, as practice shows, his efforts deserve special attention. Much of what is shown on the screen actually happened; in this film there is also an admissible artistic invention, which allows to warm up suspense and drama. Together with the heroine of Cyrus Find, we embark on a tense and unpredictable adventure. Moreover, the debates in the cabinets and interrogations cause no less interest than any adventures of James Bond in an exotic country.
In addition to Gavin Hood, the “weather” in this film is made by the incomparable Keira Knightley, who, as for me, has long outgrown the level of primitive blockbusters and has become a confident dramatic actress no worse than Meryl Streep. In this film, she goes as far as possible from the image of a standard beauty and gives out a powerful game that forces us to follow her every move.
“Official secrets” touch upon a very difficult topic, introduce us to an interesting heroine and make us think about where the verge of truth and lies should actually be located. Believe me, you will not be disappointed.
9TH IRANIAN FILM FESTIVAL OPENING NIGHT website review by Katherine Kelly
9th Iranian Film Festival Australia (IFFA) 7 – 13 November Nova Cinema, Carlton
The 9th Iranian Film Festival Australia (IFFA) opened at the Nova Cinema on Thursday 7 November. Speaking to a fully packed theatre, IFFA Director Armin Miladi welcomed guests saying how far IFFA had progressed over the past nine years. He showcased Iranian first time film makers and three international premiers being: Hosein Doumari and Pedram Pouramiri’s Alive; Ali Hashemi’s Zaferanieh, July 5; and Reza Gouran’s Repression, starring the IFFA’s special guest Sara Bahrami. These three films are competing in the newly created Golden Pomegranate Award for the best first-time director.
IFFA is also very proud be presenting restored classics by world-renowned Iranian auteurs, including Nasar Taghvai’s 1986 film Captain Khorshid - based on Hemingway’s To Have and to Have Not. A short documentary about Taghvai’s life and work was then shown. Born in 1941, Taghvai was active on the Iranian film scene from around 1967 until the early 2000’s. This documentary served as a tribute to this notable director who now very sadly suffers from Alzheimer’s.
Reza Mirkarimi’s Castle of Dreams (Winner, Best Feature Film, 2019 Shanghai International Film Festival), opened the Festival - a very sad drama emphasising familial fragmentation, secrets and taking responsibility.
Following the screening, guests were treated to delicious Iranian food and drinks from the Nova Cinema Bar.
IFFA: CASTLE OF DREAMS website review by Katherine Kelly
Castle of Dreams Director: Reza Mirkarimi
Sounds of children playing and a picture of a house on a wall herald the beginning of this drama – a family drama about loss, secrets and broken dreams.
A morose Jalal (Hamed Behdad) returns to his estranged wife’s home after serving a prison sentence to collect her car while she lies critically ill in hospital. His brother and sister-in-law, who have been caring for his two children, five-year-old Sara (Nioosha Alipour) and nine-year-old Ali (Youna Tadayyon) won’t let him leave without them. Jalal wants nothing to do with his past life, but he reluctantly takes them.
After a brief hospital visit where he fails to see his wife, he and the children set off to the castle of dreams – in other words a journey to nowhere. The children’s mother drew a castle on their wall at home and told stories about an idyllic future life in order to shield the children from reality. Sara very happily runs with this idea whilst Ali, a child older than his years, eventually discerns that things aren’t as they should be.
An eventful road trip ensues. Jalal picks up Namjeh (Zhila Shahi) his girlfriend who also has dreams – those of a life together with Jalal and having their own children – a dream that goes nowhere – like the car trip.
The monotony of the trip has is alleviated by Nioosha Alipour’s amusing and sometimes heart rending portrayal of Sara. In contrast, Youna Tadayoon’s performance as Ali has a mature and somewhat subdued effect.
As Jalal drives through the beautiful mountainous scenery, many events take place and piece by piece we learn the story behind the story.
TEHRAN: THE CITY OF LOVE website review by Katherine Kelly
Tehran city of love
Director: Ali Jaberansari
Looking for love in any big city can be fraught. But Tehran City of Love illustrates what dating possibilities (or impossibilities) exist in this comedy of errors.
Three lonely people search for love and recognition in their own unique ways: Mina (Forough Ghajabagli) a bitter, obese, unattractive receptionist in a beauty clinic with a penchant for ice cream. She seductively, prank calls men masquerading as the beautiful model Sara to set up dates and watches as her “victims” arrive at the restaurant for the date;
Hessam (Amir Hessam Bakhtiari) a taciturn, bearlike body builder instructor only has eyes for his attractive body building student who he trains for the championships;
Vahid (Mehdi Saki) an introverted funeral cantor searches for ways to escape his situation. Recently dropped by his girlfriend, he attempts wedding singing in his own mournful way. He tries his luck with Mina’s friend Niloufar (Behnaz Jafari).
This is a tragi-comedy which tracks these three hapless characters as they add to their self-inflicted pain. The sadness of their respective unrequited loves is very cleverly interwoven with subtle comical interludes.
Suzi Q is a documentary made about the life and work of this famous rock legend, Suzi Quatro. A film made by Liam Firmager, an Australian director. I believe he has done a very informative, multifaceted movie that shows many sides of Suzi, personal, professional and even an emotional view point. Having insight into this ladies colourful career and life was most interesting, I felt.
Beginning at her origins in Detroit, we are privy to her start as a young girl, in her sister's band The Pleasure Seekers. Suzi then braved a solo career to become one of the very first rock women in the 70s, wielding her guitar as she sung and played. During the film presented is Suzi Qs rise to fame and her success in so many countries, but surprisingly not her own. We are presented with the comments, and thoughts, from the family, and accounts of their history. Members reveal their feelings and their various versions of the story of Suzy's rise to fame, as well as, their takes, on her making her own way, in life.
Featured in the expose' are interviews from Joan Jett, Henry Winkler, and other well known actors and singers. Joan J explains how she modelled herself on Suzi and how amusingly,there were at times, mix ups between the two and who was who. More celebrities captured include, Debbie Harry, and Tina Weymouth .
I hadn't realized Suzi had done so many songs. She was really determined to follow her path even at great personal sacrifice. A most entertaining insight into the life of this strong, focused and super talented woman. Thank you for the opportunity to review it.
MOTHER IS WRONG website review by Jeanette Russell
I appreciate the opportunity to review the 1st part of the 6, incorporated in the mini series, Mother is Wrong. This story is set in France . During the episode we meet Malone a young boy of around 3 1/2 to 4 years who claims that his mother in not his real mother. It is fascinating to see his drawings and hear his recollections. The school psychologist Vasile, is very concerned about the contents of the young boy's story and takes it to the police.
A detective Marianne is at first not sure weather to take on the case and tries a few times to put him off .
At the plot unfolds, at the same time Marianne is heavily involved in a big case, revolving around, a large jewellery heist. She does however become quite curious about Malone, and his scenario and starts to do some investigation into it on her own. Complications occur when she starts to become closer to Vasile. Malone's parents are feeling under pressure and uncomfortable about all the attention, being gained, from various sources concerning their son.
The actors do a standout job portraying their various characters. Malone is played by Tom d'Ornano. Samuel Theis plays Vasile and Marianne is played by Anne Charrier. In the first episode these actors are instinctive and innate. A stellar job, I felt was done to make the story so believable and engrossing. Michel Bussi wrote the book that carries the same tittle and the series is directed by Francois Velle.
It is well worth the watch I feel, as a crime thriller it really drew me in, and was quite the entertaining and absorbing view.
In this suspense filled slasher any audience who is a fan of seeing action happen right before their eyes is sure going to love ‘The Furies’. The second the film begins you are transported into a feeling of uncertainty and uneasiness, which is exactly what you want when watching any form of film, especially a horror.
The all star cast are a perfect match for the narrative of this film and you can't help but feel everything they are going through. Which to me is a fantastic sign that the film is making an impact on you and and furthermore signals a great film and creative crew.
While the location settings are basic, it is the acting that really brings this film to life. Not to mention the amazing special effects. The makeup of the killers is so gorrie and to the point that you probably don't want to be watching this by yourself or too close to halloween. Probably best to watch this one with a friend so you have someone to scream with.
The best part about the film is that it truly captures the spirit of fighting evil and overcoming any situation in life’s journey if you wound up in the bush. The characters have to fight for survival and every step of the way you want them to make it out alive.
There is so much you can learn from watching this film, that it is simply a must see. The film test’s the limits of human survival and the risks and challenges one is willing/capable of when it comes to life and death. A very interesting film.
I would recommend this film to anyone who is familiar with the horror/slasher genre. If you are a fan of the Hunger Games/The Walking Dead, I feel like you will be able to relate. Make sure to see ‘The Furies’.
LAST CHRISTMAS FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO website RATE 8/10
It is a surprisingly unexpectedly good film! Well . honestly, I was 100% I would be attending something cliche and very boring ... but my eyes were all in tears and the turn of the plot made all the difference for this film to be so good.
The film is a romantic comedy by Paul Fig (Spy, Ghostbusters, Cops in Skirts, Simple Request) and it tells us about the freindship of an alcoholic saleswoman with an incredibly bright and charismatic stranger that takes place during the Christmas time and New Year's Eve. The script for this melodrama was also written by a famous actress, Emma Thompson (People in Black: International, Agent Johnny English 3, Beauty and the Beast), and we can notice Jesse Henderson and David Livingstone among the producers (Judy, Pride).
The main character whos ename is Kate works in a special store that sells items and goods for Christmas and New Year. The holiday time is approaching. The shop is diong very well with all the festive season demands but Kate herself has long ceased to believe in miracles and hopelessy tries to reestablish her own lonely full of baf habbits and addictions life. Therefore recently Kate began to seriously abuse alcohol. Howeve, everything around her is being transformed with a miraculous appearance of her new friend, Tom. he is very sweet, handsome and charming. He semmes to turn her life for the better. This dramatic and romantic love story tells about a friendship that could change everything around in the hearts of two loving and caring people.
The cast is led by Emilia Clarke (Han Solo: Star Wars. Stories, Voice from Stone, Terminator: Genesis) and Henry Golding (Simple Request). Emma Thompson (Rock Wave, Bridget Jones 3 , Save Mr. Banks and plays in teh film as well as Michelle Yeo (Morgan, Mechanic: Resurrection, Lady) and Peter Serafinovich (John Wick 2, Get Out Nice, Kill Bono), Rob Delaney (Pokemon. Detective Pikachu). There are also Patty Lupon (Parker), Ingrid Oliver ( Inveterate fraudsters) and other superb crew members you will love to watch performing amazingly well. The music for this melodramatic film was composed by Theodor Shapiro (Marley and I, Girl in the Park, Ghostly Beauty).
The film will make you to reflect on your own life values. Beautiful movie indeed! The songs of George Michael are played in the film and it seems also a fantastc tribute to George!
Last Christmas I gave you my heart and you dont have to give it back! It isa good classic with a great song for the title!
Film Yuli is primarily for the lovers of the ballet and dance art to which I also relate with all my heart. The plot is based on real events. It tells us about the life and work of the Cuban dancer Carlos Acosta. His father called him Yuli / Julius. The childhood of a talented dark-skinned boy from a poor family, who himself did not understand his mission for a very long time, desperately resisting the opportunities that opened before him, is shown interestingly.
It is a drama, it is a personal drama, a drama of relationship between father and son, a gradual and difficult path to success and glory through suffering and pain. The film has a lot of beautiful music, spectacular ballet and dance scenes that will be tattooed in your memory forever, beautiful costumes, impressive landscapes and other shots as well as the realistic atmosphere of Carlos' small homeland in Cuba. The acting is very convincing and natural.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, the film was abit too long for the message delivering and at some episodes I was simply feeling bored.
But the project in general deserves quite a good mark. I also would recommend it for viewing exclusively to ballet and dancing art lovers who will gain lots of insights from the film and reflect on their own life and achivements.
The experience of watching a film gives us the chance to escape to another world for 2 hours. For me I want to feel something from the experience, to laugh, to flinch, to cringe. Ready Or Not takes us on an enjoyable ride of laughs, thrills and horror. This surprisingly fresh horror-comedy brilliantly mashes up the genres. The intriguing script, great pacing, and strong performances were certainly more than enough to overcome any downfalls from plot predictably.
The film follows Grace as she marries into the wealthy Le Domas family. On her wedding night she participates in a family ritual, drawing a card from a box to decide on the game to be played. Grace pulls the card for Hide and Seek — a version in which the family must find and kill her before sunrise. Soon she is fighting for her life. An ancestor of the Le Domas family had made a deal with Mr Le Bail (the Devil) which brought him great wealth - at a cost. A gruesome chase ensues with maid's being accidentally shot with crossbows and crushed in dumbwaiters.
The brutality and gore of the injuries made me cringe, but then the next moment I was laughing and questioning whether I was a psycho. It goes from bloody to bloody hilarious!
Samara Weaving is a fantastic lead actress, hitting all the right comedic notes and being generally believable.
Incredibly fun, witty, and full of blood!
NTL: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO website RATE: 10/10
Nicholas Heitner again succeeded in this theataer production. He create not just a technically virtuoso performance, not just another fashionable immersive play in which the audience of the stalls became full members of the troupe. He also managed to grope the new interpretation of the mischievous Shakespearean comedy, story about love, jealousy and forgiveness. There is the bottom line: the staging was funny, sexy, romantic and bizarre mix of the Glastonbury rock festival, the dark series of The Handmaid's Tale, the rollicking buffoonery, the sitcom and even the renowned Chinese circus - the cocktail that is very hard to stay indifferent to. I gave it the highest mark as I laughed as I have never laughed before at any comedy. It was good for the Shakespeare too I guess - his play was re-invented...
Our full attention though was on Gwendolyn Christie, beloved by all as Brienne Tart from the Game of Thrones (Game of Thrones, 2011-2019). Gwendolyn (as oeetn taking place) plays both Hippolytus and Titania. She stands out not only for her height: she is extremely organic in these roles of both main characters. There is Hippolyta in a gray robe, vaguely reminiscent of dystopian suits of The Handmaid's Tale, at the same time she is full of protest and compassion for the unhappy Hermia, who is facing cruel punishment for her forbidden love for Lysander. In another, magical dimension Christie is graceful and domineering, and she is even more convincing Titania (by the way, get ready for a radical upheaval of a familiar plot!).
There are a couple of the main characters of the production: Oliver Chris in the roles of Oberon and Theseus; he is familiar to the audience of TheatreHD project from the performance of the same Bridge Theater Young Marx and the role of young Engels, where he duly led a duet with the British theater star Rory Kinnear.
The acrobatic performances on sheets and on soaring beds are done by the young part of the troupe: they are playing fairies, Athenian runaway lovers and naughty Pak. The four young lovers are all amazingly good but it is especially worth paying attention to Keith Young (Lysander) and Isis Hainsworth (Germany) who plays the guitar and he does it quite well - these young actors will surely go far. Pak is played by the cocky David Murst who looks more like a tattooed punk guy from a London gateway than a sly spirit.
How not to mention the main comic plot of the play: the misadventures of the unlucky artisan troupe led by Oblus. Heitner has modernized Shakespearean humor and there are lots of modern language jokes in the play but it’s the rollicking buffs of the Foundation performed by the huge, good-natured and hilarious Hammed Animashown who "mows" the spectators in rows forcing them to bend with laughter. By the way Hammed can be seen in the performances shown by the TheatreHD project - Amadeus (2017) and Three-Penny Opera (2016).
The degree of insanity increases (as expected) during some strange events taking place in the magic forest: it "infects" the theater stalls that are greatly facilitated by the hits of Dizzy Raskal ‘Bonkers’ and Beyonce ‘Love on Top’. For the finale the actors and the audience mix into a common round dance disco dancing to Florence and the Machine as if at some kind of rock festival.
But strangely enough the viewers of the live broadcast and recording of the play were luckier than the London standing stalls: only with the help of cameras can they simultaneously see everything that happens on the flying beds and in the farthest corners of the stalls. It seems that it will be impossible to appreciate the virtuosity of theatrical tricks and all the fun of this very witty staging of an eternal classic.
“Pain and Glory” by Pedro Almodovar stars Antonio Banderas, Asier Etxeandia, Penelope Cruz, Julieta Serrano and Leonardo Sbanagria
The world famous director Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas) is becoming more and more like a recluse. The whole fault is caused by multiple ailments, due to which he is no longer able to make films. An aging, lonely and pain-smashed creator, more and more often plunges into the depths of his memories. Perhaps, having reconciled with the past, he will find the strength in himself to find the key to understanding the present ...
“Pain and Glory” surprises and captivates literally at once. According to the initial plot of the viewer, a classic heavy picture of regret was to wait, and the result was something sentimental and, suddenly, inspiring. It is not difficult to draw parallels between the main character and the director Pedro Almodovar himself to understand how intimate this story is. El Salvador, like Pedro himself, is smoothly approaching that moment of his life when it is worth either accepting himself or falling into oblivion. There is no endless digging or resentment for life - Almodovar, having accumulated a huge baggage over his life time, is trying to ram everything on the shelves of his mind and just live on.
The picture, despite the genre, is built so skillfully that it does not make you bored at all. The laconic transitions from the present to the past have been accomplished so skillfully that there is not even a hint of some torn narrative. Every action, dialogue or memory here is verified and filled with copyright of love. Special mention is worthy of the music accompaniment, relentlessly squeezing all the important scenes. Visually, the movie is a feast for the eyes, many bright shades that burst into the picture with a burning dance, mixing colors and creating an incredibly beautiful composition. A lot of emphasis on the colour red, this colour is everywhere - in the details of the dresses, in the interior of the apartment to the buds that are in pots in the dugout. It is impossible not to pay attention to the artsy colour, and how symbolically this paint mixed with love, just as easily it goes into the struggle ... only with itself, but will there be reconciliation? Undoubtedly, the narrative leads us to this.
Salvador once tells a friend that not the actor who is ready to sob on the stage is good, but the one who will play and hold back tears. This statement is also true for Banderas himself, who adheres to this advice filigree. At the right moments, the viewer with Antonio wants to have fun and be sad. His character came out wonderfully alive and versatile. One hundred percent getting into the image and, as a result, a well-deserved palm branch. At the moment, the best role of Banderas over his entire career.
“Pain and Glory” is a deeply personal picture where reflection is not aimed at self-flagellation, but at reconciliation with the inexorable passage of time. A sentimental and tragicomic story with an excellent therapeutic effect, which pushes us to create, change something and just enjoy life.
review by Katherine Kelly
Pain and Gory (Spanish: Dolor y Gloria) Writer/Director:Pedro Aldomovar Starring:Antonio Banderas Asier Etxeandia Penélope Cruz Julieta Serrano Leonardo Sbaraglia
“Pain and Glory” tells the story about Salvador (Salva) Malla (Antonio Banderas), a declining film director, who finds himself in the middle of a creative crisis, exacerbated by mental and physical trauma.
Through flashbacks and present day encounters, Salva’s story unravels from his impoverished childhood in 1950s Spain to the present day where he learns about the remastering of “Sabor”, made 32 years ago. This leads him to reconnect with Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia) the lead actor of “Sabor” with whom he had a past altercation. Alberto introduces Salva to heroin, which further elucidates his childhood and past life, whilst giving him short-term mental and physical relief.
The reflective narrative weaves between the past and the present, his past lover Federico’s (Leonardo Sbaraglia) heroin addiction, his relationship with his mother both during his childhood (Penelope Cruz) and prior to her death (Julieta Serrano), the repair of his friendship with Crespo, and his gradual emergence from the creative crisis.
Pain and Glory is autobiographical, touching on Almodovar’s own early life. Veering away from his previous 1980s black comedy movies such as “Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown”, “Pain and Glory” depicts real life situations. This is enhanced by strong acting performances from Banderas, Cruz and Etxeandia along with Almodovar’s unique direction.
This excellent work shows that reflection is necessary in order to come to terms with what has passed. One needs to deal with challenges and move on, in order to avoid becoming paralysed by past events and conflicts.
Master filmmaker Pedro Almodovar has crafted a detailed and intricate personal story that spans more than 50 years.
Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas) is a veteran film director, afflicted by multiple ailments, the worst of which is his inability to continue filming.
His physical condition doesn’t allow it and, if he can’t film again, his life has no meaning.
The mixture of medications he takes means that Salvador spends much of his day prostrate.
This drowsy state transports him to a time in his life that he never visited in his movies.
He was in his childhood in the 1960s, when he emigrated with his parents to Paterna, a village in Valencia, in search of prosperity.
His mother Jacinta (Penelope Cruz) is the beacon of that era, struggling and improvising so that the family can survive.
Later, his first adult love appears in Madrid in the ‘80s. The pain of the breakup after three years remains strong.
Writing was Mallo’s only therapy to try to forget the unforgettable and then the early discovery of cinema when films were projected onto a whitewashed wall in the open air.
Unintentionally, Pain and Glory is the third part of a spontaneously created trilogy that has taken 32 years to complete.
The first two elements were Law of Desire and Bad Education.
In all three films, the protagonists are male film directors.
Desire and cinematic fiction are the pillars of the narrative arc, but the way in which fiction is glimpsed alongside reality differs in each one of them.
Importantly, you have no idea just where Pain and Glory is heading and how it will play out.
Apart from a few scenes when Antonio Banderas is required to play sickly, he gives a bravura showing as the introverted Salvador Mallo.
I also greatly appreciated the performances of Penelope Cruz as Mallo’s mother and Asier Flores as the highly intelligent nine year old Salvador.
So, too, his sensitive pupil, handyman and painter. The performer who plays Alberto Crespo (Asier Etxeandia), the actor with whom Mallo fell out 32 years ago, also brings credibility to his role, as does a former close friend who chances upon him decades after they last met.
The key to the film’s success is in the careful scripting and direction, but also the nuances of characterisation.
It is a sensitive piece that relies heavily on flashbacks to build an engaging portrait.
It points to a deep understanding of the human condition, its foibles and frailties.
The loafer Dave has only two valuable things about his character: he loves video games about zombies and quarrels with his girlfriend almost non stop. After he breaks up up with her he moves to his sister's place and starts "to educate" his five-year-old nephew Felix. Such disastrous "education" dos not help Felix in his growth as a child at all... He learns to swear and many other things mums usually do not teach their kids. Felix's beautiful teacher, Miss Caroline only spurs on Dave’s desire to spend time with his nephew. As a result Dave goes to an excursion with preschool children. It is a smart move of the film creators for updating "The Night of the Living Dead" but unfortunately it falls through. It never goes beyond its scope: most of the script it is focused on one joke - that wildly bad incidents are happening near five-year-olds.
The main distinguishing element of Little Monsters is the concept - it is a film about zombies which in fact does not need zombies. Perhaps this would have been a much less fascinating premise but after Dave’s attempts to become a responsible uncle to sleep with a teacher you don’t think so. This is essentially the only driving force behind the story. In the comedy plan of the film is full of them like the forest undermining the original joke adding more and more unwanted plot settings which in reality looks quite messy and dumb. In this regard the script and plot often suffer from unevenness. The elements of the comedy do not always coincide in their originality at all and are exacerbated by stereotypical characters such as an immature man, an overly serious older sister and a cute and naive child.
Fortunately these conventions were able to become the strength of the movie. The narrative is often laid-back and allows the actors to have fun. As a result you can notice the feeling of real creativity and improvisation of the actors. While Alexander England played a relatively primitive role Lupita Niongo did an excellent job as a teacher. The teacher’s natural connection with the students serves here as the anchor of the script. Both her and England share common chemistry while Josh Gad as a child animator adds his extra comic background.
The paradox of Little Monsters is that it is so simple-minded and so simple overall that it could well have been shot for children if not for the mountains of violence, swear words and sexual realted humor. Nevertheless all the actors involved in this obscenity not only played with their heads held high but also brought something unique and new to this work of art. Not all films should follow genre conventions but Little Monsters thank god despite their cynicism lacks the courage to play a joke on the concepts of the genre.
My rate is low in my own opinion - it is 6/10
BALLOON FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO website RATE: 9/10
Balloon is a German historical drama with elements of a thriller. The films tells us the story of a human feat committed in the name of love for family and freedom. It is based on real events. The plot is capable of catching the attention of many impressionable spectators, as well as delighting true film lovers with a very informative story as well as a tense atmosphere of those times, high-quality production and touching music.
The film takes place in the summer of 1979 in East Germany close to the border of West Germany. Two families from a small town are developing a crazy plan for one night escape from the former GDR to the West Germany in a hand made balloon. As a result of technical faults the balloon crashes a few meters from the German border. Frustrated and scared for their lives but feeling like living heroes the daring crew return home. In the meantime the authorities and Stasi discover the place where the balloon fell and they start a large-scale hunt for "traitors of the country". Understanding that arrest is only a matter of time the parents of two families decide to rescue themselves again in the name of saving their children and aiming for better life and freedom. While the cunning Stasi staff confidently follow the trail the heroes in a hurry and in constant fear of discovery build a new balloon for the second attempt.
One of the main features of the film is the intense atmosphere in the events. You never know what will take place next.. From the first minutes and almost to the very end the movie keeps you in constant excitement: it is fear and doubt of the characters in themselves, they risk everything, their lives including, they still find the strength to move forward in such circumstances. The heroes' faces reflect feelings of anxiety, intense music sounds behind the scenes and the rhythm of action increases with each new scene turning the finale into a real hurdle race. Events are developing quickly, although it is possible that for some viewers the middle of the film will seem a bit long and boring because the total timing is exactly two hours but in reality it will all make sense. For such story it is way too long but IMHO reasonable and you will enjoy every second of it. It was a great time in history when the final fall of the wall took place. Although some story lines and events remained unsolved up to the very end. The creators of the film did not delve into the internal affairs of families leaving this behind the scenes but completely devoted all their attention to preparing for the second escape. We are shown in full details how certain characters contribute to achieve their goals. Please do not forget that in parallel with the actions of the fugitives a large-scale investigation is taken place and shown. The main antagonist and an experienced investigator from Stasi who is doing everything possible to identify and arrest the criminals in the shortest possible time is in full alert like a pointer dog. Most interesting this antagonist does not appear in the image of an insensitive scum or a scoundrel. He is an ordinary guy. He is just one of the Stasi employees, the officer and bloodhound for whom there are no unsolved problems, there are only good and fast solutions. His mind is sharp and does everything to capture the escapers. He is respected among colleagues and superiors. He is respected and at the same time afraid. His orders are executed quickly and on time. He is a true professional in his field. During interrogations he has no equal because you will never be able to hide information from him as if he sees people through.
By the way it is worth adding that the creators of the film approach the material presented very carefully. For the entire film the viewer will not hear anything bad about the Soviet regime, Russian occupation, terror or infringement of the freedoms of the common people of East Germany. It is for this reason that it may seem that the main characters tend to leave their home just because they just want to change the situation. Although those who know the history should be aware that the surrounding atmosphere of that time was not the best as well as in whole West Europe because thanks to the actions of the Stasi almost the entire territory was stuffed with the secret agents of the secret police. According to official figures the number of Stasi informants, agents and employees was about three hundred thousand. This means that every 50th resident of East Germany worked for the Stasi (“Stasi” is an unofficial abbreviated name of the Ministry of State Security of the German Democratic Republic. It was formed in April 1950. Stasi carefully controlled the behavior of citizens of East Germany in order to prevent any political directions that are contrary to the current. There was one of the highest levels of saturation of the social society with agents in world history).
That was the reason why our characters were constantly in a state of fear: they did not know who the enemy was and whom they can trust. Each doorbell or a strange look from the side of a passing person only strengthens the manic-depressive state of the heroes. It periodically splashed out into nervous breakdowns or quarrels of parents of younger characters. Despite this they were parents loving children and always in support their family in every possible way helping in preparing the escape.
There is more to the plot though: very serious questions on family values, justified risk and the desire for a dream.
There are no complaints on production: everything looks high quality but with no frills. It was a small budget production although noticeable by the experts. At the same time each scene looks spectacular and made with a sense of empathy. The cast is worthy of special mention where everyone did everything necessary for the success of the film: the characters looked rather dramatic and with a full set of real emotions.
The film is certainly worthy of attention but you should not expect an exciting action: it is as dynamics as the emotions go creating a certain level of empathy for the characters. The film is considered a thriller and its genre direction is nevertheless closer to drama so the picture will be primarily close to those fans of simple but quite dramatic stories that happen in real life.
Thumbs up from me for this picture as I know with with own skin what was happening...
Director Alex Holmes Producers: Alex Holmes, Victoria Gregory Music composed by: Samuel Sim, Rob Manning
“The ocean is always trying to kill you – it doesn’t take a break. The probability of just not making it is high. You’re on your own – no hope if anything happens”.
These were the opening words of Tracy Edwards as she recounts her story of being the first woman to skipper an all-female crew in the 1989-1990 Whitbread Around the World Yacht Race, covering a distance of 33,000 nautical miles.
After an unsettling adolescence from the age of ten, Tracey left home at 16, ending up in Greece where she secured employment as a cook on charter boats. She saw sailing as the ultimate freedom, feeling that she had no choice – where she could really excel.
Tracey risked everything to pull off this venture, even mortgaging her home. No one would sponsor her until King Hussein of Jordan offered. She then bought and renovated a second-hand yacht, calling it “Maiden”.
Members of the male-dominated media ran a book on the proposition that her venture would fail, calling the Maiden “a tin full of tarts”.
The archival footage, shot by crew members, shows heart-in-your-mouth scenes as the Maiden navigates through swirling seas and ice, especially in the Southern Ocean. We also witness a time where the boat fills up with water and the crew’s efforts in stemming this internal tide. This venture was no walk in the park. Tracy and her crew showed great fortitude in overcoming the difficulties they encountered whether they be physical, directional, meteorological, mental or just plain old gender bias.
As well as being a documentary about the first all-female crew competing in the Whitbread Around the World Yacht Race, it was a film about determination and - a great example of women can really do.
JOKER FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO website RATE: 10.10 REWATCHABILITY: 2/10
I thought my life was a tragedy, but now I realized it was a comedy!
Whoever said that, the main movie of this year was not even the Avengers which turned out to be weaker than the previous part but unexpectedly Todd Phillips Joker. Who could expect from that unbelievable picture from the director of the 'bachelor parties' films. Who would expect that he was able to shoot the hardest social drama which will still be incredibly relevant at the present time. Much has been said about this film indeed, I read many. I will try to repeat some points of views without repeating them so to speak.
First of all, the movie is very aesthetically beautifully made. There is a gloomy, dirty city, the atmosphere of hopelessness with the people who are extremely violent depiced... all this at the same time annoys us as spectators but we can not take our eyes off it. The colors are perfectly matched, the setting, the frame are all at the level of the “golden” classics of Hollywood, there is also an excellent work of the camera man and everything looks very natural with a minimum of graphics use.
Secondly, Joaquin Phoenix gives out and gives it all and according to his senses: all of his acting skills in perfection - no words. He completely devotes himself to this film and to this role. We see on the screen one very thin almost anorexic and mentally ill person who simply does not take out all this life. He lives with a sick mother who needs even more care but the city doesn’t give a damn about it, the government and social institution support is cuts off all its benefits to help such people. The city is choking on trash and rats, it seems as if an epidemic sickness is coming upon this city: both mental and physical... The problem is so complex and unsolvable in real life that it even becomes a little funny and sad at the same time. The authorities have money, but they do not want to do anything: people are puppets or more like clowns for them. Hence the meaning of the phrase that the main character casts on television. The remaining cast plays their roles very well: the old and amazing Robert De Niro, for example, embodies an extremely cynical person on the screen: there are many characters like this in real life who surround us. It's just that all the director’s laurels were given to Phoenix hence you don’t have time to notice the works of the other actors. Our focus is on the Joker, the main character.
Thirdly, as I already noted above, this film is very relevant for our times. The screenwriters who are highly inspired by Scorsese's works. The dialogues are very well spelled out, they are voiced without excessive pathos. There is one funny thing: in order to become a Joker you had to fall into a tub with chemicals. In this film the character just had to get into the modern society to become one. The society is a tub full of chemicals. In fact this is a film with a very cool move in the plot.
There is something else: the movie has so much to be to praise for but it has one significant minus: I would not really want to revise it, to watch it again: it is way too vital, too depressing and too truthful for my eyes: there is unemployment, suffering beyond our understanding, social problems, bins of dirt and rubbish, sick people who are left without care - this is simply not possible to enjoy and after all we go to the movies more often to at least get a little disturbed from our everyday life not to be shown it again! I say to myself: I do not want to see it: the art has to raise me high not to destroy my hopes... The main character also does not make us to feel sympathy: maximum he asks for pity, and even so - only at the start of the film. The cinema does not give a direct answer to the question “What to do?” and it leaves us even more disturbed... There are more questions than solutions. It is a genius film but it has not answers... The viewer determines for himself: “go with the flow” with rats, go to the root against the system and become a “kind of joker” or think about the third option “start with yourself”. Therefore, let my review be neutral in color: no green, no red, n black, no white... but with a very strong rating indeed. The Joker has already become a cult film with the big dollars earned with an average and rather small budget spent. There are talks and discussions about this picture that have not subsided for weeks: you can safely applaud the director and his entire group. Such a movie should be at least nominated for an Oscar in major and technical nominations IMHO. 10 for my rating and 2 for rewatchability.
ALLIANCE FRANCAUSE DE MELBOURNE: CAMILLE CLAUDEL BEST MOVIE OF THE MONTH website RATE: 10/10
Allaince Francaise Classic Film Festival 2019 opened for media on 18 October 2019 with a warm coffee and fresh croissant reception for breakfast and screening of one of timeless classics Camille Claudel. There was only one thing I felt sorry about: that I have not seen this actress before.
Isabelle Adjani is an angel by looks who has a talent compared with none in cinematography. Gérard Depardieu is beyond any words. He is the master of the stage with no doubts. But I want to talk about Isabelle's Camilla.
Isabelle Adjani managed without looking back at anyone, to realize in her image of Camille everything conceived and envisioned starting with time she portrayed and ending with her role itself. Adjani’s Camilla Claudel is an unsurpassed example of a biopic on the theme of fine arts, almost the only film I watched so far which in general convincingly and stylistically adequately depicts the artist’s ministry and combustion. Adjani in Camille Claudel made a small but obvious and surprisingly flavored luminaries in the actress' discovery: the visual meaning of this film about a certain art (sculpture in this case) should be as close as possible to the aesthetics of this same art. The visual array of the film is extremely material, grounded - we can see the work in its raw form. That’s why Adjani’s white-marble hands wrinkle and mash the clay, break and cut off the iron granite, cut, crush and put together the sun-ray-ed jasper. The hem of her dress is always smeared with mud, her rich hair is showered with lime dust, her forearms are cut with a chisel and her legs are strained for many hours, standing in a cold workshop. She drags, tosses and turns, carries many kilogram lumps, there is kaolin in the hem of her dress, there is gypsum in her reticule, there are fragments of statues in her balushek. Her work is concrete, it is physically difficult, it is tangible after all. Against this background of hers any metaphor seems false and indecent! She is incomparable, she is the truth herself. There is none next to her as anything next to her is a lie.
Actually, the fatal seed of Claudel’s conflict with the world falls into this soil: her power over the plastic essence of things acquired by skills and obsession calls for the creation of the world, better, purer not aggravated by original sin. Young Camilla perceives her errands at Rodin during the work on the Gates of Hell as a cleansing, deliverance by exorcism of spiritual freaks accumulated over a short time but already crippled by the ordinary age. Her reunion with the only one who is close to her system of thoughts and considered to have a "special kiss of God" is the gate from her personal hell of slippery creatures roaring from the consciousness of powerlessness since they still have no "wings" on their shoulders. Camille is inspired, her flesh in her youth is unpretentious and does not seek anything but love. Everything that is perishable to her is unbearably boring, she is revolted to search for patrons and buyers and no enviously selfish interests in what her colleagues do. Her life is refined, refined, crystallized to the narrowest possible space: her workshop, clay, sitter, evening fatigue , velvet warmth of the fireplace and Rodin. At some point her world closes in itself, closing also her last loophole outside ... Adjani is not afraid to directly declare that Camille Claudel was many times superior compared to Rodin in terms of her talent - a heavy-volatile one, tied to time, place and market conditions, fluctuations in the Seine levels and the franc monetary fluctuations, the death of Hugo and the opening of the Suez Canal; Rodin is practical, rogue as French, he is a coward of course, most perfect bourgeois of bohemia who prefers to live with gypsum dust after the marbles of Carrara because it is more peaceful this way. Rodin with his practicality though managed to "fall down" (impress) on his own century echoing on the 20th century's sidewalk with all his weight while Camille Claudel managed to rise from oblivion and darkness and get her own re-birth in the features of a pretty Frenchwoman whose name is Isabelle.
A great distance away from your typical run-of-the-mill sort of romance, there is much to love about this movie.
Surrounding the theme of the complexities involved in an arranged-marriage between two Italian families in Australia, the movie does superbly well in exploring the equally-complex energy and discord between husband and wife after their wedding, in addition to illuminating on several side stories along the way.
This is truly an enriching feature film for the contemporary family, which spells the traits and values needed for a marriage are not modern, but are, in fact, those from ages long ago. Promised is a triumph for the Australian cinematic venture!
A grandiose attempt in capturing the life of the most famous operatic tenor, Luciano Pavarotti, the movie is centred around the musical figure, as well as the man, including his impediments and absurdities in life.
Ron Howard brings us to view, from the segments of Pavarotti's early life, his rise to fame while performing in theatre around the globe, as well as his entrance into the operatic world, which was relatively unknown and obscure in the 1960s - establishing himself as the foremost tenor of the era, as being the only one who could carry his voice to the highest pitches (thus earning the nickname 'The King of The High C's').
It would be an incomplete narration if Pavarotti's involvement in the famous ensemble The Three Tenors had not been discussed. But, joy! Howard brought upon the enthusiasm of the three, namely, Pavarotti, Carreras and Domingo, when the collaboration was wonderfully evoked towards the end of the movie, hitting a high pitch himself in this masterful work.
After the Wedding is a melodramatic story. It is a remake of the Danish film with the same name made in 2007. It was nominated at that time for an Oscar in Best Foreign Language Film category. The film primarily would interest a wide female audience but not only. Those of us who love sudden tragedy revealing from the life secrets hidden for a long time will enjoy it too.
The plot is based on the experience of one and very kind woman, who lives and works as a volunteer in India for a renown orphanage. She learns that a certain investor from New York is ready to donate a decent amount of money to her organization. To get the money though she HAS to come to New York personally for a meeting with the sponsor. It would all be fine, but after the meeting she's been invited by that same woman investor to her daughter's wedding... At the wedding that our girl is hesitating to attend she suddenly discovers that the investor is married to her ex-husband... The events then fall creating a growing snow ball of events that no one was prepared to experience. Our heroine discovers that her ex-husband was hiding one big secret for many years has since they got separated. This secret will change the fate of many people around them in the most profound way.
The plot that seemed very calm, slow, even monotonous and very peaceful at the first half of the film after certain events in the middle of the film turns its mood creating the atmosphere that gradually worsens with events escalated getting to the depth of the dramaturgy that noticeably intensifies. The characters play amazingly well, the overall story gets transformed and becomes more and more interesting.
One of the features of this movie is the ambiguity and inconsistency of the heroes which makes them more natural, organic and so close to real people who make their mistakes and do not always behave well and noble. The viewer condemns someone, supports the others and then the opinion changes and the attitude towards everyone is completely different. It is interesting to watch but you have to listen to each and every word said from the screen. The second half of the story is noticeably better and deserves special attention.
As for the actors the list of names of the celestial cast speaks for itself. At the same time each of them does everything possible to reveal their character as much as possible, deeper and stronger. The picture shows that the actors are so very much interested in the plot and the long-suffering personal story of their characters is so close to each and every one of them. This is reflected in their actions, attitudes and emotions. It is so pleasant and joyful to observe them play. You will continue to "live: with the heroes to the very end of the film. The past of the heroes brings a sense of intrigue because one secret is revealed after another.
At the same you will get a feeling that for some reason neither the actors nor the director reach the maximum of their capacities. In other words, the creators do not squeeze the story to the very end as if they are afraid to cross some invisible line and go into the depths of tragedy. You will also notice the actors restraining their emotions. That is why I tend to give it the average rate of 8/10 for this "Hollywood version" that was felt all the way through.
The remake turned out to be of high quality and perfectly fitted but at the same time it felt light and with no "sharp corners" compared to the 2007 Danish version. I have to add that man's role was very weak and insignificant as well as the acting, perhaps the wrong actor choice too.
If you watch this movie or you choose not to please judge for yourself and the main thing is: enjoy watching it.